As many of you already know, my family and I have been living in Thailand now for about two and a half years. While there are many things we miss about America, we have come to love Thailand and truly consider it our home. There are so many things we love about this country, but today I will just talk about our top three.
Thailand is often referred to as the “Land of 1,000 Smiles.” No matter where you go you will always encounter a friendly face. In many ways, their hospitality rivals that of Southerners in the US. Our Thai neighbors bring us fruit and vegetables all the time. It seems like everyday I walk out to the porch to see that they have left us something delicious to eat.
When we landed in Chiang Mai after our recent visit to the US, we found out that our car’s battery was dead. Thankfully, there was a man at the airport that helped us jump start the car, at midnight no less. We had never met him before, but he went out of his way to make sure we got home with our car.
Another thing I love seeing is when a Thai person’s face lights up once you start speaking Thai with them. Whether you are experienced or just starting out, Thais appreciate when foreigners make an effort to learn their language and culture.
Thailand arguably has the best food in the world. People come from all over just to sample some of the country’s most popular dishes. Whether you like super spicy dishes or super sweet desserts, Thailand has something you will fall in love with. One of my favorite dishes is called พแนงหมู (paneang muu). It is a mild, coconut curry with pork that is usually served with rice. Believe me when I say I could eat it every day of the week.
The other great thing about the food is how cheap it is, if you eat like the locals do. In America, you would be heard pressed find good Thai food under $15-20 USD a plate. In Thailand, you will find authentic Thai food (of course) for usually around $1 USD a plate. Actually, in our หมู่บ้าน (moo-baan) or village in English, you can get some dishes for about 20 baht or 60 cents in USD. And again, it is some of the best food you will eat.
The Church in Thailand is small, but strong. Statistically, Christians make up less than 1 percent of Thailand’s total population (69.04 million). When we moved here, we knew that one of our main ministry focuses would be discipleship among Thai Christians. We wanted to see Thai Christian mature in their faith. However, I think we grossly underestimated how much they would help us mature in ours. Perhaps we have helped them to understand God’s Word better, but I’d argue that they have shown us what it means to live it out.
After the worship service on Sundays, we all eat lunch together and have a time of fellowship. It is the time when the three things I love about Thailand (the people, the food, and the Church) come together. It is sort of like a little taste of what heaven will be like one day.
If you have never been to Thailand, I hope you get the opportunity to visit one day. It is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. At the same time, it is a place with tremendous needs both physically and spiritually. As the Scripture says, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Today I have shared a few things I love about Thailand. Imagine how much more God loves these people that He would be willing to give His Son to die for them. I pray that in the days to come we would all grow in our understanding of God’s love for all the peoples of the world.